About Medical Imaging
Medical imaging has revolutionized healthcare over the past 30 years, allowing doctors to find diseases earlier and improve patient outcomes. For patients and doctors, the benefits of imaging are clear. That's why medical imaging ranks as one of the top medical developments of the past 1,000 years.
Many individuals can attest the benefits of medical imaging, from the mother who caught her breast cancer at an early stage, to the uncle who detected a blockage in his arteries in time to prevent a stroke. From personal to national stories, medical imaging makes a difference. Here are just a few examples of the broader effects of medical imaging:
Imaging Saves Lives
Medical imaging can detect and diagnose diseases at its earliest, most treatable stages and guides physicians and patients in determining the most appropriate and effective care. One study from the American Cancer Society demonstrated that increased use of medical imaging is directly tied to increased life expectancy for Americans:
- The increased uptick of colonoscopy screenings has attributed to the accelerated decline in Colorectal cancer incidence rates during the past decade.
- Overall, female breast cancer death rates have been declining since 1989 in the US, in large part, due to early detection by mammography screening and improvements in treatment.
- Newer digital technology, in which a 2-dimensional (2D) image of breast tissue is captured electronically and viewed on a monitor with specialized equipment, has largely replaced film mammography.
- Digital mammography has improved sensitivity for women under the age of 50 and women with mammographically dense breasts.
Improving Health Outcomes
In addition to early detection, medical imaging allows for more effective treatment of diseases. With imaging, physicians can identify where malignant cancers have spread in the body and monitor the effectiveness of chemotherapy to better target treatment.
- With these advancements and innovations, the amount of radiation used has decreased up to 75%.
- Image-guided radiation therapy targets tumors and limits harm to healthy cells.
- Early diagnosis can enable treatment that is generally more effective, less complex, and less expensive. Studies have shown that treatment for cancer patients who have been diagnosed early are 2 to 4 times less expensive compared to treating people diagnosed with cancer at more advanced stages.
It’s vital we protect access to the right scan at the right time for your family and for families across America.